South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa Sunday tested positive for COVID-19, it was reported. He is isolated in Cape Town with mild symptoms. It is yet unknown which strain of the virus he has contracted.
The neweset SARS-CoV-2 variant is Omicron, which was first discovered in South Africa in late November. It is known for spreading somewhat faster than other types, but also for causing less severe diseases.
Ramaphosa is fully vaccinated and in good spirits, but under monitoring from the Military Health Service of the country's Defense Force.
After catching the virus, the President transferred the powers of his office to Vice President David Mabuza.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has tested positive for COVID-19 and is receiving treatment for mild symptoms, his office said.
Ramaphosa, began feeling unwell after leaving a state memorial service for the late President F W de Klerk in Cape Town on Sunday, it was reported. Ramaphosa and his team had been tested for COVID-19 multiple times last week during visits to four West African countries. Some members of the president’s delegation tested positive in Nigeria and returned directly to South Africa. Throughout the rest of the trip, Ramaphosa and his delegation tested negative.
“The president and the delegation returned to South Africa from the Republic of Senegal on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, after obtaining negative test results.
“The president also tested negative on his return to Johannesburg on December 8,” a statement from the president's office said. The document also added that Ramaphosa's infection should serve as a warning to all citizens of the importance of getting vaccinated and remaining vigilant against exposure.
“Vaccination remains the best protection against severe illness and hospitalisation,” the statement said. “People who have had contact with the president today are advised to watch for symptoms or to have themselves tested,” it added.
In early November, South Africa was recording about 200 new cases, but infections began rising dramatically soon after. The country recorded more than 18,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday night, with over 70% of the cases believed to be of Omicron. Most cases have been relatively mild, and the percentage of severe cases needing oxygen have been low, according to health officials.